Vaani Kapoor, a graduate of Wellesley High School, will be entering college this autumn as a Thoreau Scholar. The scholarship, named for the 19 th-century naturalist and author Henry David Thoreau, is a prestigious award given annually to only eight Massachusetts high school seniors who are environmental leaders. Vaani will be a student at University of Chicago, where she intends to major in Environmental Policy and Business.
As many of you know, Vaani has been an environmental advocate for years but you may not know what started her journey. During a vacation to her parents’ hometown, Vaani was stunned by the number of plastic items she saw. Upon her return home, Vaani realized that her own community had an issue with plastic litter —bottles, boxes, and coffee cups. Determined to do something about the problem, Vaani founded Project Plastic and began organizing plastic removal events. The project led Vaani to investigating governmental policies and the environmental economics of plastic products and recycling. Vaani’s experiences working with a wide-range of communities and elected officials on sustainability issues have driven her to pursue a career focused on environmental solutions.
The Henry David Thoreau Scholarship is a four-year tuition scholarship awarded to eight students graduating from high schools in Massachusetts. High school seniors awarded the Thoreau Scholarship can enroll in any college and university in the world while they major or minor in an environmentally-related field. Thoreau Scholars are encouraged to enroll in internships and study abroad to broaden their awareness and understanding of environmental issues.
The Thoreau Foundation further assists its scholarship winners by identifying environmental internships, offering internship stipends, and providing networking opportunities. A sign of success of the Thoreau Foundation’s mission to foster environmental leadership is the support past scholarship winners provide to present scholarship winners.
To learn more about the Henry David Thoreau Foundation and the Thoreau Scholarship, please visit thoreauscholar.org. Scholarship applications open October 15 at thoreauscholar.org with a February 1 deadline.